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Insect Infection and ImmunityEvolution, Ecology, and Mechanisms$
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Jens Rolff and Stuart Reynolds

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199551354

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199551354.001.0001

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Reproductive immunity

Reproductive immunity

Chapter:
(p.241) CHAPTER 15 Reproductive immunity
Source:
Insect Infection and Immunity
Author(s):

Michael T. Siva-Jothy

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199551354.003.0015

One of the most predictable episodes of a female insect's life is the timing of mate-encounter and mating. This chapter proposes that females are often subjected to predictable wounding during mating and that this wounding provides opportunity for environmental microbes to enter the female's haemocoel, thereby presenting immunological costs. It argues that this combination of factors is likely to lead to reproduction being a period of heightened immunological activity that has resulted in specific immune defence mechanisms and management systems that function to minimize costs while maximizing immunological efficacy. If true, these phenomena may provide valuable insights into how organisms with mechanistically simple immune systems protect themselves against a complex pathogenic world, and may also provide logistic opportunities to better study immunity in the wild.

Keywords:   insect immunity, immune response, mating, copulatory wounding

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